Free Spirit (U.S. TV series)
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|Created by||Leslie Ray
(developed by Tim O'Donnell)
|Written by||Kevin Abbott
|Directed by||Art Dielhenn|
|Theme music composer||Steve Dorff
|Opening theme||"She's a Free Spirit"|
|Composer(s)||David Michael Frank|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||14 (1 unaired)|
|Executive producer(s)||Phil Doran
|Running time||24 mins.|
|Production company(s)||ELP Communications
Columbia Pictures Television
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television (2002-present)|
|Original release||September 22, 1989– January 14, 1990|
Free Spirit is an American fantasy sitcom that aired on ABC during the 1989–1990 television season. The series stars Corinne Bohrer as a witch who moves in with a recently divorced father to help care for his three children. Originally produced by ELP Communications, Free Spirit aired from September 22, 1989, to January 14, 1990.
Free Spirit follows the misadventures of a mischievous and vivacious witch named Winnie Goodwinn (Corinne Bohrer). Winnie is hired as a live-in housekeeper by recently divorced lawyer Thomas J. Harper (Franc Luz). Winnie also looks after Thomas' three children, 16-year-old Robb (Paul Scherrer), 13-year-old Jessie (Alyson Hannigan) and youngest son Gene (Edan Gross), who are still adjusting to their parents' divorce and their move from New York City to suburban Connecticut. Thomas has no idea that Winnie is a witch, but all three children are aware of her secret since it was Gene who was responsible for summoning her.
Although Winnie is a good witch and doesn't mean any harm, her powers frequently get her and the family into trouble. Winnie has to scramble to get out of various situations while keeping Thomas from learning that she is a witch.
In the unaired pilot, Christopher Rich portrayed the role of Thomas Harper and Shonda Whipple portrayed Jessie Harper. Since the show was originally conceived as a vehicle for Edan Gross and Corinne Bohrer, producers felt that Rich and Whipple were replaceable. Only the second version of the pilot aired with Franc Luz and Alyson Hannigan in their respective roles.
Free Spirit premiered as a preview broadcast on September 22, 1989, at 9:30/8:30c, on the first night in which ABC's Friday lineup used the now-popular TGIF format. On September 24, the series moved into its regular time slot of Sunday at 8/7c, airing between two other freshman series, Life Goes On and Homeroom.
- Corinne Bohrer as Winnie Goodwinn
- Franc Luz as Thomas J. Harper
- Paul Scherrer as Robb Harper
- Alyson Hannigan as Jessie Harper
- Edan Gross as Gene Harper
- Maia Brewton
- Michael Constantine
- Dave Coulier
- Josie Davis
- Alex Désert
- Seth Green
- Florence Henderson
- Jenny Lewis
- Robert Reed
- Timothy Stack
Reception and cancellation
Critical reviews of Free Spirit were generally negative. In a poll conducted by Electronic Media, television critics voted it the worst show on television.
In addition to poor critical reception, the series struggled in the ratings. After ratings failed to improve, ABC canceled Free Spirit in January 1990. One episode of the fourteen produced never aired.
|1||Pilot||September 22, 1989||A lawyer hires an inept witch to be a housekeeper for his three children, only to have the kids find out the truth about her.|
|2||"The Bosses Are Coming"||September 24, 1989||Using the guise of Thomas' clients, Winnie's boss wants to take her back to the Witches Realm, prompting Winnie to make a deal to remain in the mortal world.|
|3||"Wedding Bell Blues"||October 1, 1989||After Thomas' date backs out of a wedding invitation, he asks Winnie to go with him to the event, but she might want to check her attire before going.|
|4||"Too Much of a Good Thing"||October 8, 1989||After Winnie casts a love spell on a girl that Robb has the hots for, Robb learns that he is the only one who can break the spell.|
|5||"Guess Who's Staying for Dinner?"||October 22, 1989||A sexy client, whose 80-year-old husband has died, wants to be Thomas' next wife, prompting a jealous Winnie to find out the real reason behind this sudden proposal.|
|6||"Hallowinnie"||October 29, 1989||Jessie is hoping that she will join a clique on Halloween, an event Winnie despises. But when Thomas suggest that Jessie throw a party for the group, Winnie reluctantly gives in by performing a magic trick on Jessie, which comes in handy at the party as she finds out the group's true intentions.|
|7||"Two for the Road"||November 5, 1989||After Thomas buys a convertible for Robb and Winnie to share, it's an excited Winnie who really gets behind the wheel and a furious Robb ready to take the keys away from her.|
|8||"Not with My Sister You Don't"||November 19, 1989||Winnie becomes concerned about Jessie's date in more ways than one.|
|9||"Love That Winnie"||December 3, 1989||Winnie imagines herself in an episode of The Donna Reed Show as a way to be the perfect homemaker, but she's about to discover in real life being one is not like a TV show.|
|10||"The New Secretary"||December 10, 1989||Winnie is hired as Thomas' secretary and gets involved with a divorced couple (Florence Henderson and Robert Reed), who still have feelings for each other.|
|11||"Radio Nights"||December 17, 1989||Thomas is left stranded at a radio station after a thunderstorm causes a tree to block off a bridge. The Storm also strip Winnie of her powers while Gene fears that he will not see his father again.|
|12||"We Gotta Be Me"||January 7, 1990||In an effort to stop his annoying, Jessie and Gene asks Winnie to split Robb into two guys... and they still get more annoyed by the results.|
|13||"Blast from the Past"||January 14, 1990||After a courtship that spans 150 years, Winnie's warlock fiancee Kevin (Dave Coulier) finally asks her to marry him.|
|14||"Love and Death"||Never aired||When Winnie's kid sister Cassandra (Josie Davis) visits, she sweeps Robb off his feet, prompting Winnie to dust off this spirited romance.|
Awards and nominations
|Year||Award||Title of work||Recipient|
|1990||Young Artist Awards||Best New Television Series||
|1990||Young Artist Awards||Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Series||Alyson Hannigan|
|1990||Young Artist Awards||Best Young Actor Supporting Role in a Television Series||Paul Scherrer|
- Terrace, Vincent (1997). Experimental Television, Test Films, Pilots, and Trial Series, 1925 Through 1995: Seven Decades Of Small Screen Almosts. McFarland. p. 192. ISBN 0-786-40178-8.
- Zuckerman, Faye (September 22, 1989). "ABC offers another loser". Star-News. p. 5D. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- Weiskind, Ron (December 6, 1989). "ABC cans 'Homeroom' and 'Dolls'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 33. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "'Free Spirit' show is short-lived". Rome News-Tribune. August 10, 1990. Retrieved February 5, 2013.